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Content Management in der Cloud

Raus aus der Skalierungsfalle

Content Management in the Cloud
Customer Experience
How Influencers Affect Our IT
The Slashdot Effect
Collective Procastination and Other Causes
Content Management in Containers
CMS from the Cloud Marketplace
Deployment of Cloud Native Solutions
One more thing!

Every marketer wants nothing more than for their campaign to "go viral." But what happens when all the storytelling, video production, social media and influencer marketing efforts actually hit like a bomb? Can your content management system (CMS) withstand an inrush on your website?

2020_Blog_Content Management in der Cloud

How Influencers Affect Our IT

Do you know Lele Pons, NICKY JAM or Zach King? If not, you either belong to a generation that can look back on a longer professional life or you don't have any pubescent children. These ladies are so-called influencers or "social media stars" who take up topics in social networks or produce videos that interest the young. In the case of Lisa and Lena, for example, they have over 12 million followers worldwide on Instagram. And even if you don't know them - your marketing department should.

Because a well-known drugstore chain has experienced first-hand what kind of echo influencer marketing campaigns can trigger: Together with influencers they launched a products that were sold exclusively in the drugstore's stores. Shortly after the product announcement on various Social Media channels, the stores were stormed by the primarily youthful public and the products were completely sold out within a few hours.

But why am I telling you all this, since this blog is about cloud topics and IT strategic decisions?

Let's take a look at the typical customer journey of a prospective customer who wants to find out about the products that an influencer is promoting on behalf of a company. As a rule, he lands on the website of the advertising company. The latter is thus suddenly confronted with an unusually, usually unplanned high number of inquiries.

When the dream of a viral campaign turns into every marketer's nightmare due to overloaded servers, the so-called "slashdot effect" occurs.

The Slashdot Effect

The effect is named after a now-defunct news service that reported on other websites and regularly caused websites of large companies to collapse due to its proliferation.

In addition to successful marketing, other events can of course also cause the effect: For example, when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, upsetting the worldwide flight schedule, the homepages of numerous airlines capitulated to rebooking requests.

Even seven years later, on Black Friday last year, many online retailers had to announce the capitulation of their online stores via Twitter or Facebook.

When you consider that Amazon founded the cloud service AWS for precisely this reason, it's surprising that more than a decade since the public cloud offering came into existence, web servers are still at a standstill when requests shoot up unplanned. But what's the reason?

Collective Procastination and Other Causes

The market is seeing an ever-increasing burden on the IT department - with IT budgets falling for the most part. This contrasts with increasingly agile processes, e.g. in the marketing environment, where a lot of experimentation is taking place.

As a consequence, when dealing with the aftermath of temporary resource problems, people often move on to day-to-day business very quickly. The causes are not eliminated in the long term.

One of my colleagues coined the term "collective procastination" for this behavior - meaning "We should fix the problem sometime!", but no one does.

In addition, many companies lack the knowledge of how quickly such a problem can be solved sustainably: with scalable resources from the cloud. And in most cases, this does not even require replacing an existing web CMS or completely overhauling the architecture of the existing application.

Content Management in Containers

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With this solution, the entire existing CMS is deployed "as it is" in the cloud, including all underlying services such as the database or operating system in containers such as Docker or Kubernetes. This is possible with most CMSs. Problems can usually only arise with the licensing of the database or the content management system in the cloud itself. Some CMS manufacturers also use container technologies themselves to provide those systems in the public cloud that are not always optimized for cloud operation due to their age. All major public cloud providers support container technologies and offer easy-to-use operating scenarios here.

CMS from the Cloud Marketplace

An alternative to the operation of container technologies is the use of an existing CMS installation in the marketplaces of the public cloud providers. Open source content management systems in particular can be found there in a wide variety of forms and versions.

The large number of images on offer often makes things confusing: The services and configuration options depend heavily on the publisher of the predefined images.

In one respect, however, these offers are unbeatable: The provision of the images runs virtually at the push of a button. For short-term or temporary installations for individual landing pages or marketing campaigns, it may be worth taking a look at the providers' marketplaces.

For existing installations, however, it is always necessary to migrate to the cloud solution. The costs for this may be significantly higher than for provision via container services.

Deployment of Cloud Native Solutions

Entire websites can also be deployed via Azure Web Apps or comparable services from other public cloud providers. For smaller installations, this solution is the silver bullet.

As is usual with cloud native solutions, the user does not have to worry about scalability, operating systems or databases here, but can rely on the architecture of the public cloud providers.

However, the disadvantage here - compared to the other alternatives - is that a solution is offered that is not based on content management systems. Rather, technologies are offered to independently create a solution based on various programming languages.

The range of supported technologies differs from provider to provider. Depending on the technology used, this results in a certain dependency on the provider, a so-called vendor lock-in.

For smaller sites or similar to the marketplace images, there is great potential here, especially when considering the TCO over the entire usage period: the billing model here is purely usage-based. If hardly any users stray to the site after a certain campaign duration, no more costs are incurred.

One more thing!

You are not yet convinced that the cloud can be the right solution for building your websites?

Then let me tell you that here you can also get to grips with latent security issues that arise when working with completely different marketing agencies. For example, it is no longer necessary to host agency-produced landing pages and thus software code for individual actions on servers in your infrastructure. You can move this - including governance issues - to the cloud.

As another side benefit, the cloud allows you to optimize your content delivery network and minimize latency for dynamic content by delivering content globally across multiple regions. All for the benefit of an optimized customer experience, whether the prospect is based in Cologne or Adelaide.

Customer Experience

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Written by

Markus Krenn
Experte für Microsoft Azure